Christmas Begins

I love decorating for Christmas. The other holidays I usually put some stuff out too, but Christmas just makes a place feel so cozy. And if you've ever been to my place at Christmas, you know my biggest Christmas addiction is pillows and blankets...I need more couch space in order to accommodate them all. 
The part I don't like about Christmas is pulling down all of my normal decor to switch it out. So much effort. But when you live in an apartment, you don't have much space to begin with.
Also, I'm not a big Coke drinker, but when it has Santa on it, how can I not?
My village <3 
And of course lots of other little items.
Target had some amazing bedding deals over Black Friday so I snagged us some Christmas flannel sheets as well as a flannel duvet cover! 
I had already made the fleece blanket a month or two before when Hancock Fabric was going out of business :( 
We love having live Christmas trees. I know a lot of people think it's a waste to put up a live tree, as well as unfair to the environment to cut down so many trees only to throw them away. But  there's something very special about having a fresh tree in your house. And the smell is pretty amazing too :)
We found a little lot near our house, picked the perfect tree, and headed home to decorate!
Sadly the poor tree had been sitting in negative degree weather and was frozen...so when it started to thaw out it started to drop lots of needles. Thankfully it didn't die on us completely though.


Jeff began his first official day at work in Twin Falls on November 19, which yes meant we didn't get much of any kind of anniversary celebration. We considered our road trip the celebration vacation :P 
He was told that the day before Thanksgiving the stores would be closing at 3pm, so we planned to go to Ruthie's apartment in Rexburg. The day before an announcement came out that no the stores were to stay open until close. Luckily for us, Jeff's boss allowed Jeff to still get off at 3. And good thing too! There was a snowstorm that made travel difficult! The mix of snow falling, ice being tossed by the other vehicles, and it being so cold ended up blocking our view entirely from the windshield. What should have been a 3 hour drive, turned into a 5 hour drive since we were traveling about 20mph for a good stretch. But we made it safely! 
We had a fantastic spread of delicious foods to share! 
And of course lots of leftovers - did you really have Thanksgiving if there aren't leftovers for the next few days?? 
Ruthie and her roommates made the turkey, first time for all of them, and they did an amazing job! It was cooked and seasoned perfectly. My mashed potatoes on the other hand....let's just say don't try a new recipe on Thanksgiving day; as well as I am grateful I didn't listen to the recipe when it said to add 2 cloves of garlic..one was more than enough. 
In the middle of all the cooking and Thanksgiving Day prep, we headed over to Karen and Ryan's to help them move to their new apartment! They didn't have plans for dinner since they were moving, so we invited them to join our festivities later in the day :) 
After it was all over and we'd all lounged around feeling very full, Jeff and I packed up and headed back to Twin Falls so Jeff could work a very long day the next morning. 


Settling In

The night of the apartment fiasco, we immediately drove to Rexburg since we were picking up our moving truck and furniture the next morning. I was completely exhausted emotionally and physically, as well as still feeling really sick. I slept in the car for a while and when we got to Ruthie's I went straight to bed. The next morning we loaded everything up in the moving truck and made the trek back down to Twin. Luckily we were able to have help loading and unloading. Although Jeff and I both felt pretty bad in Twin having the Elder's Quorum unload our truck while we were signing paperwork. By time we finished signing everything, the guys were done! So grateful for their help!
The next day Jeff had to leave to Pocatello to start training. For reference, Rexburg is a 3-1/2 hour drive and Pocatello is an almost 2 hour drive in good weather. We were very lucky that Jeff's friend Brent lived in Pocatello and allowed Jeff to stay there. So here we were again, living 2 hours away from each for most of the week :P Unfortunately this time I was left completely alone where I knew no one and had no car. Which to start was ok because I had a ton of unpacking and organizing of the apartment to do. On the first night alone I ordered pizza and watched a movie on our iMac. While we were out grocery shopping before Jeff left, I told him that if he was going to abandon me then he had to buy me Inside Out :) Such a cute movie! I watched it maybe 4 times in the 3 days he was gone!
I had almost the entire apartment put together and organized by time Jeff came home. But because I'd spent so long alone trapped with no escape from the apartment, when he was home, we spent the entire day out shopping and browsing and just being out of the apartment. Which Jeff hated because he didn't get to spend any time at home on his day off.
One one of his days off we headed down to Utah to do some shopping at IKEA for furniture. I had saved up all of my photography cash so we could have a furniture budget...and IKEA took almost all of it hah! But we needed stuff because all we had was a bed, TV stand and kitchen table. While in Utah we of course had dinner at the Pie Hole. 
The next morning Jeff left again, and I went right to work putting together all of our new furniture. That's the major downside to IKEA, you have to put everything together yourself. Which I will admit, I love building, so I was fine with it. But it can be frustrating when you're trying to lift and move a couch all by yourself. Thankfully our internet had finally been connected so I binged Gilmore Girls while building everything.
My print tray from my mom filled mostly with all of her little trinkets and treasures, and a few of my own. I hope to keep adding more little pieces to it over the years :) 
Figuring out my layout for the gallery wall. Always a slow process. 
Almost completed gallery wall. Still missing a few photos.
And our gorgeous living room! I loved that we had a ceiling fan in our living room! Most places in Idaho seem to not know what the heck a ceiling fan is and it's very sad. 
Another view of our living room. It was the perfect set up. We really loved it.
Dining area and kitchen. I was so excited that I found barstools at IKEA that went so well with our kitchen table set up.
The office.
The other side of the office.
We also have a third bedroom but it only housed our chifforobe, laundry baskets and our bikes during the winter.

Twin Falls Apartment Fiasco

I don't believe I ever ended up sending these photos out to any friends or family, or shared on Facebook. But when I tell the story of moving to Twin Falls, I usually include the bit about we tried one apartment and it was a disaster. So here is the full story and photographic evidence of how horrible it was. And I didn't even get photos of everything!
When Jeff and I first heard that he was accepted to work at Twin Falls I started looking for an apartment for us. We found two apartments that we both agreed we really liked. Unfortunately because we were living 2000+ miles away we couldn't physically look at places, only trust the honesty of the photos and descriptions. When both apartments approved us Jeff voted we go for the cheaper one to save money. I reluctantly agreed. Because the apartment was available at the start of October and we weren't moving in until November, the rental agency required us to "rent" the place starting in October. So we forked out over a big chunk of change to cover the deposit and first month's rent. Because rent was due on the 1st of the month, and we were arriving on the 2nd, I paid rent the day before we arrived. So we now had close to $2000 sunk into an apartment that we still hadn't seen. When we did finally see it...I was in complete disbelief. See for yourself.
Used q-tips and yes, in that back corner is a super dirty sock.
Everything was filthy. The cabinets all still had food crumbs and even dishes in them.

Closet door was not even attached, the ceiling lights didn't have covers on them. And the carpet had cigarette burns all over it.
I told Jeff that the place was unlivable. I was absolutely not going to live in this apartment while it was in this condition. They hadn't cleaned or done any maintenance in the full month that it had been vacant. At this point I was still feeling pretty nauseous and stressed out from the car wreck. The apartment being in this condition added so much more. We went back to the landlords and told them what a disgusting unlivable mess it was and their response was "It can't be. Our cleaning guy assured me he did a fantastic job!" So I showed him the photos and he sent his kids over to clean our place...Meanwhile I immediately called up the apartment we had turned down praying the unit was still available. I called and texted so many times...poor guy. But I was so stressed out and upset over this current apartment that I needed to know we could find somewhere else to live. Thankfully the other unit was still available and when we told him our situation with the landlord he said "Oh...I know those guys. Be really careful with them and make sure you can get out of that contract before you sign with me." So we went back to the other guys and told them they hadn't held up their part of the contract, they didn't give us what was advertised and that we were not going to live there. They were a real jerk and said "Yea well good luck finding somewhere else." In the end, we only got back $400 of our $2000 we gave them :/ Which I'm still pretty pissed about. But the relief and peace I felt about not living in that dump was so worth it. 


Final Road Trip Days

As I said, Jeff did all of the remaining driving for us, which I can't thank him enough for. 
It was long days for him and even more so because the radio in the Jeep stopped working!! So it was either listening to whatever we could put on our phones, talking, or boring silence for him while I napped.
He spotted this random bridge in Wyoming and begged for a photo with it. 
When we finally got to Utah it started lightly snowing on us...ugh. But we only had 4 hours to go until we got to our new home! We were so so ready to be there and be done driving. Except we weren't. Because we would have to go to Rexburg the next morning to pick up everything from our storage unit. Ah the joys of moving!